(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at Kronos, a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. For a second year, Kronos CEO Aron Ain has been recognized as one of the Top 20 CEOs in information technology by Glassdoor.com. Many congrats to him! Enjoy the post.)
When we’re asked to be a part of something – like being on a project team or getting a promotion or even starting a new job – it’s very tempting to think that “I was selected because I’m good at something. And for that reason, I don’t need to change.” The first part of that sentence is correct. We are asked to participate on teams and projects because we have the skills they need.
Now, let’s talk about the second part. Being able to change isn’t a conversation that only applies to managers. It applies to everyone. For us to effectively get our thoughts across, we need to make adjustments to our communication style. We should listen and communicate in a way that others respond to rather than making others change to hear our message.
Next time you’re trying to communicate a new idea, think about a couple of ways clearer communication can help.
Make sure everyone understands the word. I’m not talking about a grammar police activity. There are many words that, over the course of time, have become catch all phrases (example: disrupt). So, if the organization is talking about empowerment or engagement or some other concept, define it. And define it as it pertains to the organization. It’s difficult to discuss goals and solutions when people aren’t on the same page. This doesn’t need to be a long conversation. It might be as simple as, “Before we begin brainstorming, let’s take five minutes to confirm the company’s definition of empower.”
Clear up misunderstandings. We’re human and organizations are filled with humans, so mistakes and misunderstandings will happen. When the boss starts passing around the wheatgrass shots – much to the employee’s surprise – find a moment to discuss. It’s possible that the boss got the definition and the solution right. But employees heard it differently. Which means there’s still a communication issue to resolve. Go back to the definition to figure out where the communication breakdown occurred.
Communication is a huge and vital part of how we get things done. Yes, our knowledge, skills, and abilities are important too. But we need for others to have confidence in us. We share our ideas, processes, and philosophies. The way we do that is through communication.1